Wednesday, February 24, 2016

It's Hammock Time

 You know all those things that you've always wanted to do? You should go do them.
-- E.F Lamprey

I ain't no MC Hammer, but It's Hammock Time

Caught snoozing in the garden

I am physically exhausted but in a good way. Not the "I worked so hard to day I am exhausted"  but the exhausted where your entire body aches, you sleep like a rock and move slow, steady and with purpose for the entire day. The "I just climbed volcanoes 9 days in a row exhausted" . The body is tired but the mind is oddly calm and clear. A calm and clear mind is an odd place for me to visit so I am going to try and enjoy and learn from it. See if I can make it a semi-permanent thing.

It has been a steady 2 weeks of trekking in a great 3 months with QT. Cerro Negro, San Cristobal, El Hoyo being all apart of the fun finalized with an El Hoyo moonlight hike last night. Today I rest on a hammock or put together a couple of deck style chairs. I will have my trusty book that I want to finish and nobody or nothing short of an earthquake is going to move me. Hell, all an earthquake will do is rock me to sleep so bring it on. I am reading Wild Steps of Heaven by Victor Villaseñor. An easy read about the history of the Villaseñor family in 1910 in Mid Central Mexico. I am heading to Mexico so it is time to learn about Mexican History.

Watching Momotombo erupt at sunset from El Hoyo
The last couple of weeks I have had great climbs, even better treks and success at school. I was recently asked to present, with 10 minutes of warning" with my teaching partner our lesson plans and how we co-ordinate them. We have both received good feedback from the director so that is always motivating. Anyways, my teaching partner is Luis. A local teacher who is also a teacher at the TEFL Nicaragua Academy. He is bright, creative and well organized but like so many Nica's he had kids when he was 18. He works three jobs to maintain his life but owns his own home. Sometime we live dangerous and he gives me a ride home on his motorcycle and he has no extra helmet. It feel liberating until he slows down quickly, says you have to get off the National Police are up there. So jump of quickly I do. Off he goes on his motorized transport, off I go walking the hot pavement under the searing sun. Good times.
I have gleaned quite a bit for Luis and his tips have helped me quite a bit. We stand in front of 18 other teachers at 730 in the morning and "wing it". I do not know if it went well or not but at the 750 bell for my 8:00 class I did not care. I had a group of 17 eager teens to impress, not fellow teachers who can not follow simple directions.

Running down the steepness that is San Cristobal
Observation and Confession: My sugar free February came to a screeching halt on Feb 22nd at 9;30 pm. We were planning our dinner for the Moonlight El Hoyo hike that was to leave at 11:00 pm. The clients were beginning to arrive for dinner which was past and veggies. I had an ample portion and was fine. No hunger. Halle, one of my partners on this trips suggests "hey old man, you will probably fall asleep. How about a coke?". I think "what a capital idea". With cookies in hand (go big or go home) and a cold coke to follow I inhale and chug the caffeine and high fructose corn syrup with gusto. I had an immediate rush of the senses. No sugar for 3 weeks and then a coke and cookies. Give it a try sometimes. You will realize how sweet these things really are.

I have read quite a big about refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup. One thing that stood out was how sugar tricks your brain into thinking you are hungry. Remember I just had a good dinner not 5 minutes before. By the time were were loading the trucks to transport to the hill I was freaking "starving". I mean beyond belief hungry...and I wanted cookies and another coke. What an observation to prove to myself the true facts that are reported on sugar and high fructose corn syrup. The hunger lasted about 30 minutes, subsided, but remained for about an hour. That explains the Pop Tarts devouring phenomenon I have always had. I would open a box of Pop Tarts and eat 2. Within the hour I would have eaten all 8 because my brain was being trick into believing it was not satisfied. This was an epiphany for me on my continued journey of good food, good health and clear mind.

Directing traffic on Cerro Negro. The green flag is in dire need of repair
As I head back to the garden for another round of reading and napping I thought I would share a volcano update from La Prensa Nicaragua. Masaya to the south is still very active and closed. Momotomobo has erupted 7 times in the last 24 hours. San Cristobal, yes the volcano I climbed last week erupted this morning and Telica, which last erupted Feb 13th is on high alert. Smack dab in the middle of this active volcano chain is Cerro Negro. Just patiently waiting it's turn.

Finally just a random thought as I prepare to climb Cerro Negro on Friday and then Sunday (Meema, do not read any further and if you do, no panicky emails). Cerro Negro was first discovered as an active volcano in 1850 and has since erupted on average every 13 years. The last eruption in 1999 was violent with sprays of lava up to 100 metres high. Volcano boarding did not start as an activity until 2002 which means there have never been any tourists on Cerro Negro for an eruption. I personally think that is about to change.

At any given time there can be up to 100 people climbing in and around Cerro Negro. Plus Cerro Negro sits along the same fault line and in between Momotombo and Telica which have been very active over the last 2 months. There is nothing stopping Cerro Negro from getting in on the action and history has shown it is overdue. With so many people on the hill at any given time Cerro Negro is ripe for disaster. Mother Nature always wins.

Link below gives a warning about Cerro Negro
"Cerro Negro is one of the country's most active volcanoes with at least 23 recorded historical eruptions, last in 1992, 1995 and 1999. Cerro Negro's eruptions are often violent with tall lava fountains and tall ash plumes, and often preceded by earthquakes"

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